Category Archives: ISF

Fair Life – August 6th: ISF Food on a Budget

Fair Life, is a featured series I’m writing on the 2012 Iowa State Fair. I’m going to try to post something different each day I’m at the fair that features some behind-the-scenes looks at different aspects of the state fair along with factual information.

Since I’m going to be LIVING at the fair for 2, that’s right, TWO FULL WEEKS, I’d thought I’d share with you what I like to eat and my usual meals (That won’t break your budget.) I eat almost all of my meals for <$5! Here’s my secret places to get great fair food, with great prices, and support local organizations & farmers!

Breakfast: There are 2 options for Breakfast at the Iowa State Fair.

Option 1 is the Turkey Grill. The Turkey Grill has an amazing breakfast item that’s only a $1! It is a turkey link on a stick with a pancake around it (much like the pancake and sausage on a stick, but instead of sausage, it’s turkey!). They also garnish it with some powdered sugar. You sure can’t beat the price, while supporting Iowa’s Turkey Farmers!

Option 2 is the Methodist Church Food Stand. Nothing can beat the cooking of the local church goers who’ve all been blessed as great cooks. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) Anyway, they make a mean Biscuits and Gravy ($4), and their service is speedy as well!

Lunch: There are also 2 options I usually have for lunch.

Option 1 consists of the Beef Quarters. This is where longtime broadcaster Mark Pearson hosted The Big Show. It’s here that I like to order the Hot Beef Sunday. The Hot Beef Sunday consists of mashed potatoes, gravy, cheese, pulled beef roast slices, and a tomato on top.  Come support Iowa’s Beef Producers!

Option 2 consists of my favorite place, the Iowa Pork Tent! It’s here where I get my mouth-devouring pork! I have been hooked on the Pork Loin sandwich the past few years. Also here are the delicious pork-sliders! Both are under $5! It’s here where you can learn more about the people that produced your delicious meal, support Iowa’s Pork Producers, and maybe even catch the next president or a congressman! Did you know that a fairgoer receives a pork product EVERY 4 seconds?

Dinner: Dinner is pretty much the same as lunch, but I usually go to the other place.

Treats: There are many places I like to go have some amazing treats…

Barksdale Cookies are #1. I might even go as far as to say they beat Cookies Etc. They come in cups or buckets. The cups are $4 and the bucket is $15. This year I’m going to try to get a BUCKET of them! Screw the cup, you only live once! It’s not the state fair if you don’t eat unhealthy!

Po Boy’s Sweet Potato Fries are my #2 favorite “snack” at the fair. They are tastey, delicious, and somewhat healthy.

The 2012 Iowa State Fair Fact-Countdown!

Hey people, the Iowa State Fair is ALMOST here! This year I get to experience PRE-Fair (since the whole fair last year wasn’t enough). I get to live and work at the Iowa State Fair August 6th – 19th 20th! (And I’m going down on the 5th for the photography salon reception since I had all 3 of mine selected!

My friend Evan is also doing a countdown. I thought you’d might enjoy it, so here it is….

14 Days: Alright, in excatly 14 days the greatest Iowa tradition begins! The Iowa State Fair!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I thought that for this year I would countdown the days on Facebook and have interesting and cool facts about the fair or new attractions for this years fair. Why you may ask? Because this is how much I love Iowa and the State Fair!!!!!!!
Fact: This year’s fair is bringing in new foods, like they do every year, these are some I am sure to try. Gourmet s’mores, available at Beaverdale Confections, Caribbean-style crab fritters, available at Ollie’s Crab Fritters, Chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough pops on-a-stick, available at Dipped in Chocolate and, of course something way unhealthy but why not try it its the fair, Double Bacon Corn Dog, available at the Campbell’s stand.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more!!

13 Days: The fair has a new attraction this year and that is the ZIPLINE! For 7 dollars a person you can leap from the 28-foot tall tower and fly 130 feet across the grounds. C’mon lets be honest, all us crazy people want to try this!!!

12 Days: The state fair has been popular for quite some time. So popular that in 1945 they made a movie about the Iowa State Fair. Its a musical movie named State Fair about a family coming down to the fair and each of the four having their own adventures. It was a huge hit, even won an Oscar, it was a big hit for many years. From that movie the Fair got a theme song. How many of you know what it is? Adults, as in over 30, are not aloud to answer cause you will probably know what it is.

11 Days: Over the years many great performers and entertainers have come to the fair and entertained thousands. But some big names didnt start off performing at the grandstand, some performed at free stages first, before they were big artists. John Michael Montgomery, Gary Allen, Dierks Bentley, and The Band Perry are just some that started off performing at free stages and then came back a few years later and performed at the grandstand. Hey Hunter Hayes is performing at a free stage this year, maybe he’ll come back and perform at a the grandstand. Anyone going to a grandstand show this year?

10 Days: Every year the Fair seems to do some kind of coupon day or discount. Well this year on the first day of the Fair admission is free!!! But you have to have the coupon from the Des Moines Register. The Register will be printing said coupons on the sunday before the fair and the day before the fair. Also the time window for this free admission is from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. It is early but for the Fair and to save some cash, im perfectly willing to wake up early!!! And if you get there early, all the cool stuff wont have lines!

9 Days: Baby Mine. Baby Mine was a 4 ft, 1,160 baby elephant that 15,000 Iowa children helped purchase for the fair. The kids sent in nearly $1,000 dollars in nickels and dimes. The Register and Tribune, the Iowa State Fair Board and others assumed the rest of the $3,600 dollar cost. Baby Mine debuted at the 1929 fair and 25,000 children showed up the first day of the Fair to greet him. Wish we had an elephant this year. Thanks to because I was to lazy to write it all out lol.

8 Days: Alright Fair time is getting closer so today im going to put in a whole bunch of random facts just so im sure they get mentioned. Fact 1 the Fair grounds are about 445 acres, with 160 acres for camp ground (go State Fair Camping!!). Fact 2 the Fair has used the same spot since 1886 meaning that the Fair has been in the same spot for 126 years this year. But the Fair is 158 years old! Fact 3 has the Fair ever been cancelled? Yes in 1898 because of the Worlds Fair in Omaha, and 1942 to 1945 because of World War 2. Fact 4 Garth Brooks was a quick replacement for Ricky Van Shelton in 1990, he was such a huge success he came back in 1991 and 1993. Fact 5 (the food fact) Guess how many foods are on a stick at the Fair…………..Give up? Ok. The answer is more than 50!! Go to, go to trivia and see what is all on a stick. Fact 6 the Fair is listed in the Top 100 things to do in America before you die.
I would like to say that some of these facts I know, some I get from a book on the fair that my grandma has, and the others I get from the website listed above.

7 Days… Only a week away! Alright only one week left!!! Whos excited? Alright today im talking about free stage entertainment for this year. Where, when and who. These are ones im going to try to be at because these people are awesome!
Anderson Erickson Dairy Stage: Brett Eldredge 8/14 8 PM, and Glen Templeton 8/16 8PM.
Anne and Bill Riley Stage: Hypnotist Ron Diamond 8/13 – 8/17 7 PM & 9 PM, this guy is really good and really funny! And Iowa State Fair Queen Coronation 8/11 7 PM (too bad I was in the King contest for polk county lol but I got second runner up so in olympic talk I got the bronze!)
Susan Knapp Amphitheater: Hunter Hayes 8/15 8 PM, Steve Holy 8/9 8 PM, Will Hoge 8/11 8 PM, and Hairball 8/13 – 8/14 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM. Ok Hairball is one I really want to talk about, now 3 or 4 possibly 5 years ago I heard their name and thought “O this should be funny a bunch of guys try to impersonate 80s rockers” But these guys are AWESOME!! They always have huge audiences and have killer concerts!! So if you like any classic rock songs and your avaible one of these two nights, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

6 Days!: The Midway. A place of rides, games, fun, and jeering dunk tank clowns. The midway opens from 10am to midnight everyday. The Midway has always been a place of fun for many years! In the fifties their were dance tents, rides, freak show tents, and even girlie tents. Granted things have changed since then but its still a great place to go unwind when at the Fair. The Midway is adding a new ride this year called Space Roller. Of course they will still have the classic and infamous double ferris wheel and the rock and roll himalaya.

5 Days!: I realized my first post was about food but I didnt say were to find it. So heres the food again, the stand, and where to find it.
Gourmet s’mores, available at Beaverdale Confections in the Shoppers’ Mart.
Peach, apple or cherry crisps, available at Iowa Orchard located inside the southwest entrance of the Agriculture Building.
Caribbean-style crab fritters, available at Ollie’s Crab Fritters west of the Jacobson Exhibition Center.
German chocolate funnel cakes, available at The Best Around on the Triangle.
Chocolate covered chocolate chip cannolis on-a-stick, available at Dipped in Chocolate on the southwest corner of the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion.
And my favorite!
Chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough pops on-a-stick, available at Dipped in Chocolate on the southwest corner of the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion.
Only five days left, if you have questions about the Fair feel free to shoot me a message and I may be able to answer it.

4 Days!: Today is the 50th anniversarry of the State Fair movie (the remake). Dont forget to get your coupon out of the Register so you can get in free from 6-9 on thursday!

3 Days: Fair is very close, and if the weather stays the same as its suppossed to it will be a great time!!!! Opening day on the Grand Concourse at 8 there will be a large zumba class. The Fair is trying to break the record for largest zumba class at once. so if you do zumba or want to try it you should go check it out!!!!

Fair Life – Featured Series

Hi All,

I don’t know if you know this or not, but I’m going to be working (and living) at the 2012 Iowa State Fair… A DREAM of mine come true! I’m going to be working there the 6th through the 19th! While working and living there, I’m going to try to write a feature post each and everyday of the fair that includes some photos and interesting facts. The series is going to be called, “Fair Life“, and is scheduled to be released every day (August 6th-19th) at 8am here. As of right now, I currently have the 6th, 7th, and 9th days done, but I could use your help. Do you have any suggestions of places I should feature? Tweet me with your suggestions!